“My family and friends support me in my decision to take strike action, they say that we must fight for our rights. With the rise in prices I have had to find two more jobs to pay my bills and support my mother.”Maria Das Neves de Lima, cleaner and UVW member
Night shift workers that clean the offices of global media powerhouse Ogilvy in the historic Sea Containers building on the Southbank are striking for fair pay and full pay sick pay.
The cleaners work throughout the night, losing their enjoyment and access to daylight hours and a normal family life. Yet they are only paid £11.95 per hour, the bare minimum and with inflation at around 13.5% (RPI), it is simply not enough.
They want £15 per hour to be able to cope with the rise in food and bills and to reflect the unsociable hours they work.
Working the night shift exposes the cleaners to heightened health risks such as increased risk of depression, workplace injuries, and heart attacks. But they only receive the legal minimum sick pay which means they lose out on any wages for the first three days of illness and then only get £109.40 per week. They want full pay sick pay.
When they are off sick they accrue negative ‘points’ because their bosses use ‘The Bradford Factor’ (“BF”), a mathematical formula computing absences no matter whether they are due to sickness or disability. BF is designed to punish illness and imposes limits on how long workers can take to heal rather than help them overcome sickness or poor health. It is inhumane, inflexible, not compassionate or understanding. The workers want its use to be immediately stopped and any active ‘points’ erased.
The bosses can afford to meet these demands due to the astronomical profits thanks, in part, to the workers.
In 2021 Anabas reported an increase in turnover by £3.1 million to £24.1 million. Publishing powerhouse Ogilvy also reported turnover increased to £240,847,000, with net cash reverses of £12,514,000 and net assets of £246,766,000. Ogilvy, itself a member of WPPplc Group, the largest advertising agency group in the world, reported a whopping £14.4 billion in revenue in 2022 and £807m returned to shareholders through share buybacks.
Ogilvy says that their greatest asset ‘is, has always been, and always will be our people’, and that they ‘aspire to be intentional allies to all individuals impacted by past and present systems of discrimination and marginalisation’. But this rhetoric of compassion, fairness and equality doesn’t stretch to them, the key workers who make their workstations spotless every night.
THE WORKERS DEMAND:
A minimum of £15.00 per hour to be reviewed on a yearly basis and increased in line with RPI
An occupational sick pay scheme in line with the NHS
The abolishment of draconian sick leave policy (Bradford Factor).
Support UVW to build power and solidarity in workplaces and communities to win dignity, equality and respect.